Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Rants on Special - Three for One

Duckie and I had a rough morning yesterday. At approximately quarter after seven, I realized that bundling up a toddler adds at least five minutes onto the morning routine. That's around the same time I started to hear the constant whine of the time clock at work - "You're gonna be late, you're gonna be late..." it whispers. Shut the f up, I try to tell it, but somehow that doesn't shut it up and now I'm frustrated because I'm late and pressured and the damn zipper on Duckie's coat will not zip up and where the hell are her shoes anyway but they're too small so I have to find the pair I was going to give her for Christmas, great, one less gift for her on Christmas morning, but come on, she's a toddler, she doesn't give two flips about how many presents she's got under the tree and will I ever be able to get her mittens on without snapping off one of those delicate little fingers oh crap I forgot to feed the dog I guess she'll wither away and die before I can get home to feed her tonight thank God I remembered to start the truck earlier geez you'd think it'd be warm in here by now and why can I see my own breath? Oh my God, it's freezing in here and I think the baby has been shocked silent by the cold and the clouds of her own breath my back is seizing up from this bitter temperature you bastard will you please not honk your horn at me, I can't make this truck go any damn faster and yes I know the light is green...

After a morning like that, I felt compelled to spend more time than usual with Duckie last night. I know she didn't care whether the salmon cakes got made (this batch was awful, btw, I don't know why I bothered freezing them) but I think she was happy that she got some uninterrupted attention and affection for a while.

We went through the normal routine of bath time and bed time (she almost fell asleep leaning against me in the tub) but something woke her up just as she was nodding off - there's no telling with her sometimes - and she wanted to play. Right about that time her bed started to look awfully comfortable, so I kept the lights off and laid down. I said, "You play with whatever you want, but I'm not going to read you the Big Blue House again. It's time for bed."

I guess about ten minutes later she decided that the bed looked pretty good to her after all and crawled in next to me, displacing the pink snuggle bear and falling asleep. Apparently I did, too, because the next time I checked the clock it was almost nine (we had gone to bed at 7:30.)

The Swan was on. Now, I would never have watched it if it had required changing the channel, but seeing as how it was already on, I thought I would indulge myself in the macabre stories of the women who had chosen to transform themselves, surgically and in other ways, in front of millions of TV viewers like me.

What bothers me most about the show is not the manipulation and exploitation of women's insecurities. I know that's awful - but what's really bad is that a part of me wants to be up there with them. I don't know if I could ever walk down a runway half-naked, baring my flabby post-baby belly, lumpy thighs and oversized arms, so I had to admit a certain amount of respect for the women who could do that, and then come back four months later to celebrate their transformation.

Whatever happened to accepting yourself for who you are? Whatever happened to Our Bodies, Our Selves? Whatever happened to the simple goals of eating better and working out to lose weight? Who gives a crap if your ears stick out or your boobs are too big? GET OVER IT ALREADY. Geez Louise. How do I raise my daughter in a world where goddesses are created by hacking and slashing off the bits of themselves that aren't socially acceptable? How do I teach her to love herself and her own body if women who are nipped and tucked are seen to be the mainstream? What the hell is happening to this society???? Look at pictures of Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone and Kate Winslet without makeup and tell me these women wouldn't be good candidates for the Swan - it's all in the marketing. Anyone who wears makeup on a regular basis already knows that you can completely transform your face, anyway, and the hair is just icing on the cake. But the women of the Swan remind me entirely too much of myself, and that's the scary part. Which is probably the whole point of the show anyway - to get suckers like me to watch.

But you know, when I went to the concert with Brett and Buffy I was pretty pleased with how I looked when I showed up. And I did get some appreciative looks, and had I made even the slightest effort to flirt, I might have gotten more than that (not that it's an option, but that's not the point. Husband, don't get your boxers in a wad.) Six hours later, not so much - but that's to be expected, I think, given that my normal bedtime is around 9. I suppose what it comes down to with me is that I want the results of the transformation (the prizes would be cool, too) without the godawful exposure of national TV. So heads up to my main workout partner - in January, we get busy!!!!!

Last but not least, the final rant today is about Husband. I'm not freaking out about anything in particular. It's just that I feel like we never spend any time together - no real change there, and really that's the whole point of a separation, right? I wonder, though, how much time apart is enough, and how much is too much. And what we're moving toward - if anything. That's the problem - I see this going nowhere very fast and at the end of our six month separation nothing will have changed and we will have to just stay separated for another six months. And another six months. And another... and suddenly Duckie's graduating from college and splitting her residence at his house and mine and I haven't got a clue what the man who used to be my best friend is doing with his time. Which is - as I said - no real change.

I don't want it to be like this. In an effort to demonstrate that I really do want his presence in my life, I asked him over for a Christmas eve family sleepover. Not just for Duckie - although I know she will be ecstatic to see her dad on Christmas morning (that will really be her best present) - but also for me. Because I miss him.

I had a brief conversation recently with someone whose opinion I value very highly. It was hard to hear that opinion - that if things don't change, I need to start letting go.

But I can't yet - can you understand that? I'm not ready to let this go. Therapist said I was going through the stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Those stages don't always happen in that order, though, so I wonder if I'm still in denial about the separation - maybe I'm not admitting to myself that things are over - because I desperately want to hope that even if we can't have what we used to have, we can still build something new together, if the love and committment is there from both of us to work with.

I'm so far away from Husband now that I can't read him anymore, and I used to be able to tell from fifty feet what kind of a mood he was in. I don't know if the love is there. And even if it is, do we as a couple have the skills we will need to rebuild? Do we have the desire?

I remember early in our relationship we met for a concert in Charlotte. He was late meeting me, but he had really dressed to impress - black pants, a dark maroon shirt, nice shoes. I was so glad to see him after sitting in the Visulite theater by myself that I threw my arms around him and he hugged me back.

It felt like I had come home. And God help me, I'm not ready to let go of that. Not without a fight.


Anonymous said...

bring on the running shoes.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're trying to build a house. What's with talk of skill to build relationships. It takes love and care and commitment and sacrifice and sharing of all you both are feeling in your hearts. Underline------love care commitment sacrifice sharing and add together
Love you both, Dad

Debbie said...

Interesting rant about Husband...but can I ask you, why do you want Him in your life? What is it that you miss and need so badly? You seem like a VERY strong, intelligent woman, who has the notion towards independence, why do you find yourself wanting the one who has left? Each night you tuck in who eventually will be your best friend. Each morning, you get to look into the eyes of unconditional love. Many do not have that precious blessing. I agree with whomever told you that it might be time to prepare yourself to move on. It's no shame nor is it failure on your part, it is a beginning. A new adventure. But what you really truly need to do is to gather yourself up for you and Duckie. You can do it...I know you can! BTW, I'm thrilled to see that you disagree with idiot shows like the Swan. Yes, acceptance of yourself and who you are is just the first step! Society has objectified women for far too long, glad to see somebody else agrees with me! :) There is a great movie called movie "Killing Us Softly". Check it out sometime!

Sam said...

it feels bad when you can't offer any words of comfort beyond the ones that let someone know that you understand how they feel. i can tell you THIS though:

1.it's amazing that you manage to deal with mornings like that at ALL. i never could, and this is one of the many, VERY solid reasons why i will (and definitely SHOULD) never have a child. give yourself props for managing and for still getting pleasure and enjoyment - or at least LESSONS - out of times like this.

2.re: the swan shite. it is girlfriends like you who make me feel good about trying to love my own body as is. not just your beautiful bodies (lumps, wobbles and all) and faces (and hair and style...) but your beautiful attitudes and opinions as well, not to mention your willingness to SHARE them. i'd rather have one girlfriend like you and my own body than TEN girlfriends who didn't love themselves enough to be who they ARE - AND a brand new surgically altered body and face of my own. !@#$ THAT.

3.re: that man. it's really hard for me to remain unbiased, because brian and i have a rapport that i don't have with a lot of guys - or even a lot of girls. he and i are no way as close as you and i are, friendship-wise (we just haven't logged as many miles, that's all), but there is an 'alikeness' between us that allows an understanding (that is definitely NOT the same thing as APPROVAL, mind you) that's automatic.
you and i are friends that became family, and brian and i are family that became friends, i guess is what i mean.
anyway, what this all comes down to is that i feel i have an unusual perspective/pov on the situation, and
basically, i feel like the best, most realistic thing i can say is that whoever made that last post about this part of your rant has a pretty good bead on things.
it's certainly not that i don't HOPE for you two to come back together as a family, andi. in fact, that would thrill me, because it would mean more happiness for duck-duck AND for both of you - IF it was right this time, and y'all were both right with yourselves and each other. more of the same old same old wouldn't do ANYbody any good, and could obviously, from looking at the past, be potentially deadly. "Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it".
it's just that knowing what i know about you both, and hearing what brian had to say after that night - and being able to so clearly understand all that, i feel like i need to be honest about my feelings and tell you that - no matter WHAT the possibility of the outcome - you need to spend that serious mind-time and emotional energy worrying about andi and duck-duck. bottom line.

wishing for things that you don't have right now and that you may not have again can be so dangerous - especially when your stress levels are maxed anyway, and when you know what can happen when you get too far out on those limbs. i'm not saying to give up hope - even i can't do that - but you do need to work hard to channel those feelings into something that you CAN control. that old saw "If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours forever. If not, call it up when you're drunk..." no, i mean: "...it was never meant to be."
or as my dad used to say (this is one of the two maxims that i try the hardest to live by*): hope for the best and expect the worst, and you will always be ready for whatever comes.
this hurts me too, andi. i feel like duckie very much, and i suspect that as time goes by, i will identify with her feelings more and more. i've never been in your position, i've never been in brian's position, but i've been in aeryn's (to a degree) all my life (sans the wonderful, loving mother and responsible - compared to mine, at least ;) - dad). so that's where my heart REALLY lies. wishes are one thing, though - and facts are another. DON'T LOSE TRACK OF THE FACTS - whatever they are.
i love you dearly.

*the other is: "if you're going to feel guilty about it - DON'T DO IT. and if you're going to do it - DON'T feel guilty about it."

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